Heart-warming stories abound at annual OCCF Grant Awards Breakfast

The Ottawa County Community Foundation brought together 29 local non-profit organizations last week too award them almost $50,000 at the Grant Awards Breakfast at the Sutton Center. (Photo by D’Arcy Egan)

The Ottawa County Community Foundation celebrated its 20th anniversary last week by giving 29 local non-profit organizations $49,463 in grants at its annual Grants Award Breakfast. It’s a heart-warming exercise, with every grant recipient bringing a tale to the gathering.

“I enjoy hearing the stories,” said Jon James of Graytown, one of the Ottawa County Community Foundation’s 14 board members. “A lot of deadlines and paper work are involved, but it is so worth it just to hear how much these grants will mean to the groups receiving them.”

The grants can be for seemingly small projects, but ones that will make a big difference for the recipients. The Ottawa County Family & Children First Council, for instance, received a grant to assist families in crisis who are not eligible for other programs.

Assistant Chief Charlie Almroth and Chief James Wilburn of the Harris-Elmore Fire Department show off the new glow in the dark name plates, a safety issue for fighters, that the department’s OCCF grant will allow them to purchase.

The Harris-Elmore Fire Department grant will purchase 30 face mask nameplates for firefighters’ helmets so the first responders can safely be identified as they leave a smoke-filled building. The Luther Home of Mercy will establish a scout troop for individuals with developmental disabilities, while the GRANDlove advocates at the Ottawa County Family Advocacy Center can purchase a much-needed laptop computer.

“The emotions can run rampant when selecting the recipients,” said Grant Chairman Mary Coffee.

The grant recipients have to do their part, identifying the need and creating an application by the spring deadline. They must also meet a deadline next year to file a report on the success of the grant.

Since the first grant was awarded in 2003, cumulative grants to support charitable organizations and projects total more than $440,000. Funding for the grants is made possible from several unrestricted community funds held by the Ottawa County Community Foundation. The funding sources include the Kenneth and Naomi Akins Family Fund, Bob and Grace Armbruster Fund, Lenore Peterson Blackburn Fund, Earl J. Johnson Fund, the OCCF Fund, Lenore Peterson-Blackburn Fund, Dr. James I. and Priscella Rhiel Fund, Paul H. Rofkar Community Needs Fund, Harry Stensen Memorial Fund, Dave and Jeanne Thierwechter Fund, Donor Advised Fund and cash donations.

Recipients this year included: Terra College Foundation, Oak Harbor Log Cabin Association, Harris-Elmore Public Library, Stein Hospice Services Inc., Oak House, Dr. John E. Braun Memorial Park, Joyful Connections, The Salvation Army, Catawba Island Historical Society, Greater Port Clinton Arts Council, Cultivate the Clover of Ottawa County,

Ottawa County Museum, Light House Sober Living, Nightingale Harvest, Friends of Port Clinton Parks, Musical Arts Series of Port Clinton, Engaging Opportunities Foundation, Ottawa County Family Advocacy Center, Ottawa County Family & Children First Council, ARC of Ottawa County, Oak Harbor Lions Club, Oak Harbor Tree Commission,

Playmakers Civic Theatre, Harris-Elmore Fire Department, Habitat for Humanity of Ottawa County, Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and Luther Home of Mercy.

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